Pairing Beer and Cheese!
  Re: (...)
Listen up, Theresa, for some good ideas!! Some of these ideas really sound tasty! (another newsletter this a.m.)

Pairing Beer and Cheese
April 05, 2010

Greg Hall is the brewmaster for Goose Island Beer Company.

When people ask me to name my favorite beer and cheese pairing, I just smile. There are an almost infinite number of wonderful pairings; It's like asking my favorite Stanley Kubrick film: Dr. Strangelove, 2001, The Shining -- you really can't go wrong. But with beer and cheese, there are only two rules. Rule one: Match the flavor intensity in beer and cheese. Rule two: Rule one may not always apply.

Let's start with one the mildest cheeses, perhaps a fresh chevre, soft, creamy with a touch of tartness. That could be a description of a nice wheat beer, too. And the match is wonderful. Fresh cheese tastes of the milk from which it was made, and in turn it tastes of the animal's diet. Soft grassy flavors, maybe a little spice from clover, blend perfectly with a soft American, yeasty German or citrus Belgian wheat.

Next let's try Cheddar, which naturally pairs well with a firmly hopped ale. Both were born in the English countryside and this is a more structured pairing than the first match. Mature Cheddar, such as Keens, Montgomery or Cabot's Clothbound asks more of the beer, and a crisp English ale such as Fuller's ESB or Brooklyn's East India Pale has enough malt backbone to match the intensity of the Cheddar, with a crisp hop finish to balance the tart finish of the Cheddar.

How about a hard cheese, an old rock of Parmesan or caramel aged Gouda? Two ways to go my friend, complement with a sweet, dense Trappist Ale like Rochefort 8, or contrast with an assertively hopped IPA, let's choose Liberty Ale from Anchor. Both work so well I often match two beers with a single course of five-year-old Gouda.

Ready for some funk? Washed rind cheeses ache for musty, wild-fermented Belgian Ales. The barnyard character of the two match wonderfully and the tartness of a good Belgian slices through the rich meatiness of the cheese better than a hot knife. I love the beer and cheese combinations produced at Trappist Abbayes like Chimay and Orval, for an American version try Meadow Creek's Grayson with Saison Brett from Boulevard, or Winnimere from Jasper Hill with Goose Island Matilda. Cheesemaker Mateo Kehler and I like the match so much, he now washes Winnemere with Matilda.
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: Pairing Beer and Cheese! by cjs (Listen up, Theresa, ...)
Interesting read, Jean. I love his descriptions.
Keep your mind wide open.
  Re: Pairing Beer and Cheese! by cjs (Listen up, Theresa, ...)
That is sooooo interesting!!!
"He who sups with the devil should have a. long spoon".
  Re: Re: Pairing Beer and Cheese! by Old Bay (That is sooooo inter...)
don't some of these sound really good??
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: Re: Pairing Beer and Cheese! by cjs (don't some of these ...)
Haha, Jean, you know my weakness. I love cheese and live for a hoppy beer. The odd thing is since I started on the quest for the best IPA, I can hardly drink any other beer. Even my old favorite, Guinness, tastes watery now. I did try the Goose Island IPA in my travels, but the entire trip is like a blur now. I am just starting to fade back to reality with a Longhammer IPA.

Everything tastes better Alfresco!

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